planet-smart blog

Transportation planning firm makes cities more sustainable, with help from New Resource

New Resource Bank
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New Resource Bank

In dense urban environments like the Bay Area, a multimodal approach to transportation is key to greener, more livable communities. But getting there is far from easy. Take San Francisco’s Market Street. The city wants to redesign it to create a safe and protected bikeway along the full length of the street and improve the pedestrian experience by adding green areas and gathering places—all while improving speed and reliability in the existing four lanes of public transit.

To pull off this balancing act, city officials hired Nelson Nygaard, a San Francisco-based transportation planning firm with a commitment to sustainability, as part of a team that included urban design and environmental specialists to make design recommendations for a re-imagined Market Street. A pioneer in its field, Nelson Nygaard has helped cities across the United States and Canada create more walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly communities. In Santa Monica, for example, Nelson Nygaard designed one of the nation’s first shared street concepts, transforming a narrow, unattractive street into a “community front yard” that accommodates cars, but also has wide, sustainably landscaped sidewalks and public gathering spaces.

New Resource provides new funding opportunities

Nelson Nygaard’s passion for sustainability extends to its own operations, and that spurred the company to cancel its business with two traditional banks and move to New Resource in 2012. “We strive to practice what we preach,” says Casey Boswell, the firm’s director of business services, “and it’s important to us to have like-minded business partners.”

Boswell says the partnership with New Resource has opened an array of options. “We’re discussing financing for equipment and stock transactions—funding opportunities that simply weren’t available to us in our previous banking relationships.” Plus, he says, Nelson Nygaard has seen great benefit from the bank’s extensive network. “Gary Groff recommended our payroll providers, and they’re fantastic. Now we’re looking at new insurance suppliers.”

“New Resource takes a proactive interest in the success of its clients,” says Nelson Nygaard founding principal Bonnie Nelson. “The other banks understood their own businesses very well, but they had no interest in understanding ours. Not only does New Resource understand our business, it helps us in ways only tangentially related to the banking relationship.”

Flexible financing a must for growth

Already a national leader in sustainable transportation planning, Nelson Nygaard has plans for expansion. Winning new projects often depends on having a local presence, so Nelson Nygaard needs the financial agility to open an office when the business calls for it.

This challenge has become much easier to hurdle since the move to New Resource. “We’re considering opening offices in the Midwest and Los Angeles in the next six months,” says Boswell, “and that’s a conversation New Resource is part of. To me, the name says it all. This bank is a new kind of resource to businesses out there.”

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